On Good Friday, we tried the new Subic Clark Expressway (SCTEx) from Subic Bay. We had to get to Bustos, Bulacan to help our grandmother set our Spanish-era float on its way to participate in the annual Holy Week procession.
The trip, from the Tipo toll plaza to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), was just under 30 minutes. You hardly notice that you have already travelled the span of the expressway, which is around 50+kms.
I have to agree with my friends that the road looked like it was properly designed and constructed. The ride was smooth to the extent of almost being monotonous and hypnotic.
And the view was just magnificent: rice paddies, lahar dunes, mountains, hills, ‘bahay kubo’, orchards– the Philippine countryside. I didn’t realize there was so much land and activity between Subic and Clark.
All along the stretch, you could see evidence of proper planning. There were sections of the road that seemed to be allocated for emergency stops and filling stations. The shoulders were wide enough to accommodate a stalled vehicle. I also noticed that the exits were placed at a fair distance from the main expressway accessible via off-ramps.
It was evident that the highway intended to simply ‘cut through’ to Clark through the shortest possible route, with all the hills it just sliced its way into.
Ah, it was indeed a beautiful day.
The trip was smooth and quick. It took an hour to travel from my home in Subic to the Candaba viaduct, inclusive of a brief pit stop. If I had proceeded to Manila, the trip would have lasted no more than 1.5 hours.
Although I reckon that by using the SCTEx to Manila, I would be travelling around 40kms more than the old route, I would be saving at least 30 minutes of travel time. On a bad day, make that at least an hour. I, for one, wouldn’t mind paying for the extra 40kms worth of fuel and the toll fees, in exchange for a quicker and safer trip, free from the hassles of wrestling with tricycles and buses and negotiating mountainous bends.
I can’t wait for its grand opening in April.
And the culmination of our trip, a centuries-old family vow kept:
For more details on the SCTEx, see an article I wrote previously HERE.
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